Augusta-Aiken Audubon November, 2018<u> Newsletter

	November, 2018                          Gene Howard, Editor,
	Volume 47, No.6               

NOVEMBER MEETING: The Augusta-Aiken Audubon Society will meet on Thursday, November 8, 2018 at 7:00 PM. The meeting location is the North Augusta Community Center, located at 495 Brookside Ave. in North Augusta, SC. The public is invited to all meetings, programs, and field trips sponsored by Augusta-Aiken Audubon.

PROGRAM: Sharon Richardson will present “Audubon-Year of the Bird.” Sharon is the Executive Director, Audubon South Carolina and Vice President of the National Audubon Society. She will discuss the vision for Audubon in South Carolina and will talk about the power of birds to connect us to people, places and policy. Audubon owns 22,000 acres in South Carolina and identifies firsthand how birds inspire people and bring wonder to life. When birds thrive, people prosper. Audubon has a vision that inspires restoration of habitat and creates safe places for birds and people, now and in the future.


Creates the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund to protect water quality, wildlife habitat, and parks

“Without increasing the current state sales tax rate, shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to create the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund to conserve lands that protect drinking water sources and the water quality of rivers, lakes, and streams; to protect and conserve forests, fish, wildlife habitats, and state and local parks; and to provide opportunities for our children and families to play and enjoy the outdoors, by dedicating, subject to full public disclosure, up to 80 percent of the existing sales tax collected by sporting goods stores to such purposes without increasing the current state sales tax rate?“

The Georgia Outdoor Stewardship campaign committee suggests that this is “an historic opportunity for Georgians to protect our waters and lands by constitutionally dedicating a portion of the existing sales tax on outdoor sporting goods” to conservation.


The Georgia Nature Photographers Association (GNPA) is a large group of photographers (approximately 800 members) in 9 chapters interested in nature, scenic, landscape, botanical, macro and wildlife photography. I’ve been asked to see if there is interest in our area for an Augusta Chapter of the GNPA.

The GNPA has as its mission promotion of nature photography in Georgia, conservation and preservation of natural habitats, ecosystems, and species in Georgia, and education of all photographers interested in nature photography. All skill levels are welcome, from beginner, to enthusiast, to professional photographers.

The GNPA sponsors guest speakers on favorite places (like the Galapagos, the American west, Costa Rica, etc.), learning sessions and workshops, annual expos, short photography trips within Georgia, longer photography workshops out of state (like Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, the Outer Banks, Smoky Mountains), and photography contests and competitions. I recently attended one of their 8-day workshops (Montana) and participated in their learning sessions and contests, and they were wonderful.

If there are enough folks interested in a CSRA / Augusta chapter of GNPA, we’ll arrange a meeting here in Augusta with some of the GNPA leadership and a couple of well-known Georgia Nature Photographers. Anyone interested in joining please e-mail me at Please include contact information in that e-mail. I’ll get back to anyone interested in having a local chapter of this excellent organization. I took the photograph below on a recent GNPA trip to Glacier National Park. You can also contact me at my Facebook page: Llib Nitul. You might also want to check out our GNPA website: for more information. Thanks for your consideration, and I am looking forward to hearing from you. ---------- Bill Lutin.


Kroger is committed to helping our communities grow and prosper. Year after year, local schools, churches and other nonprofit organizations earn dollars through Kroger Community Rewards®. Augusta-Aiken Audubon is registered as an organization to receive rewards. If you shop at Kroger and have a Kroger Card, you can enroll in the program and a portion of your grocery purchase will be sent to our Chapter. For more information go to


The Community Wildlife Project (CWP) is a joint effort of the Garden Club of Georgia (GCG) and the Department of Natural Resources Non-Game Division. Its purpose is to better manage non-game wildlife and plant habitats in rural, urban, and suburban communities. The GCG provides free certification application forms for Individual Backyards, Communal Living (apartment, condo, assisted living, etc.), Hummingbird Havens, Native Plant Gardening, and more. If you are interested you can access and download the forms at

Field Trips

Augusta-Aiken Audubon's field trips are open at no charge to all chapter members and the public. We encourage everyone to come out and join us! Some tips to make the trips more comfortable: bring a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, and drinking water. Sturdy walking shoes are recommended as is having raingear nearby. Morning trips during the winter usually begin at 9 a.m. and end around noon; warmer weather trips generally begin at 8 a.m. and end around 11 a.m. If you have questions about a field trip, please contact the listed field trip leader.

November 3, Saturday - Phinizy Swamp. Meet in the parking lot at Phinizy at 8am. We will walk the 2.5-mile loop looking for winter arrivals. Sparrows and ducks may have started to arrive. Trip will end around noon.

November 10, Saturday - Silver Bluff. Meet at the Kathwood Ponds at 8am. We will explore the property which may include the Kathwood Ponds, Silver Bluff Road and possibly areas beyond the gates. Our route will be determined by bird activity. Trip will last until about noon.

November 17, Saturday - Merry Ponds. Meet at the Popeye’s at Gordon Highway and Walton Way at 8am to carpool. There is a $4 charge to enter the property. We will bird along the road and along the ponds (road conditions permitting) looking for winter arrivals including ducks. and sparrows. This trip will likely go into the afternoon but no later than 3pm.

December 1, Saturday Lover’s Lane – Meet at the Popeye’s at Walton Way and Gordon Highway at 8 am to carpool. We will look for wintering birds along the road and in the Merry Ponds. Trip should last until about noon.

December 8, Saturday Phinizy Swamp Nature Park - Meet in the parking lot at Phinizy at 8am. We will walk around the wetland cells, looking for wintering birds including waterfowl. Trip will last until about noon.

December 15, Saturday Jackson Landing Road – Meet at the Kathwood Ponds at Silver Bluff to carpool. We will drive Jackson Landing Road looking for wintering passerines. We have had Winter Wren and Brown Creeper along here in the past. Trip should last until about noon.

December 22, SaturdayAugusta CBC. Contact Lois Stacey at (or 803-215-1594) if you plan to participate.

December 24, TUESDAY – Aiken CBC – Contact Calvin Zippler at about this count


Birding by Boat - September 29, 2018

Four of us attended the inaugural Audubon paddle event. We paddled Betty’s Branch and Euchee Creek looking for birds on a beautiful day. We had Canada Geese flying by as we launched. We got good looks at a Yellow-billed Cuckoo in a small bush along the bank and saw lots of Titmice. Pileated, Red-bellied and Red-headed Woodpeckers were seen and heard too. The water was high so we paddled up into Euchee Creek where we had swallows, more woodpeckers and Judy and I heard a Red-breasted Nuthatch.

A little further on we found a flock of 49 female/eclipse Blue-winged Teal with one female Northern Pintail. They were very cooperative and just sat on the water letting us watch them for a while. Then they took off and flew low back and forth giving us great looks.

Time was getting on at this point so we turned around and retraced our steps having seen and/or heard 40 species. We will definitely be doing this again in spring! Lois Stacey.

Big Sit- October 7, 2018

The Big Sit – our second year – was held at Phinizy. We moved our location so that we were on the edge of cell 3 which gave us a much better viewing area. As you would expect being out before dawn the first bird of the day was Barred Owl.

As the sun came up there was lots of bird activity as the blackbirds and swallows came up out of the marsh grass. As the sun rose the King Rails called from all over the marsh and Common Gallinules started moving around. We had an American Bittern sit out in the open for 20 minutes or so too and saw another flying later in the day. We had a few warblers in the buses around us including Palm and Yellow Warblers.

We got our 50th species at 9:30am (and we never moved from our seating area)!! It was a beautiful, sunny but HOT day and soon after that things got quiet. We spent the next few hours watching one Little Blue Heron harassing another repeatedly and got to see an Alligator lunge at something on the bank (twice!) and miss (twice!). That usually got the birds calling again and we got Sora and Virginia Rails after these attempts.

From 9:30 until we finally had enough of the hot at 2:15 we only picked up 7 more species. But that total is 12 more than we had last year! The new location is so much better. Lois Stacey

Lovers Lane-October 20, 2018

What a beautiful fall day for a bird walk! We met at Popeye’s and then drove over to Lover’s Lane. They have removed all of the trees along the fence line right at the start of Columbia Nitrogen Rd so we didn’t stop but there were blackbirds all over near the swamp and that was our first stop. It was a very birdy day, but we only got 43 species.

There were huge flocks of Common Grackles everywhere and we heard a lot of woodpeckers. Sparrows have arrived, we had nice looks at Savannah Sparrows in the fields and heard White-throated near the dirt road. House Wrens are back too.

There was no waterfowl on the Merry Ponds that we could see, but there were lots of small birds in the brush along them. As we walked down the dirt road past the cell tower we heard and then saw a Red-breasted Nuthatch! It’s a big-time irruption year so we should be seeing these quite a bit this winter. There were Wood Ducks in the borrow ditches along the levee too. We ended about noon just as the rain was moving in. Great timing!

Please be aware that Meridian Brick (formerly Boral, formerly Merry) is now digging in the last field on Lover’s Lane (the one with the big silver gate and the silo that backs up on Phinizy). Dump trucks are not yet running up and down Lover’s Lane, but if you bird the area please be aware of the activity and watch out for the trucks. Lois Stacey.

Augusta-Aiken Audubon Society
4542 Silver Bluff Rd.
Jackson, SC 29831
Phone: 803-471-0291

President: Brandon Heitkamp
Vice President: Lois Stacey
Secretary: Mary Pallon
Treasurer: Gerald May

AAAS Web Site:

Webmaster: Gene Howard,


(Bill Lutin)